What are some of the objections to Kantianism?


But surely "that beyond which greater cannot be thought" cannot be in the mind alone. For if it is already in the mind alone, then it can be thought that it is also in reality - and that is greater. So if “that beyond which greater cannot be thought” is in the mind alone, then it is precisely “that beyond which greater cannot be thought”, (something) beyond which greater can be thought. But that certainly cannot be. So there is undoubtedly "something beyond which greater cannot be thought", both in the mind and in reality.

3.1 First attempt at interpretation and first objections

Anselm's argument may be a bit clearer in the following form:

If real being (e.g. a painted picture) means something more ("is greater than") compared to a merely conceptual being (e.g. a picture that has just been planned), then the "greatest conceivable" can not only include but must also be real;

because otherwise, contradictingly, one could think of something more, something greater than that: the real, not just imagined "conceivable greatest".

So the one who denies the existence of the "greatest conceivable" has not thought this term through to the end. Descartes argues in a very similar way in his fifth meditation ":

The most perfect being "can not only have a purely conceptual, but must also have a real existence, if the real is more perfect compared to what is merely thought.

Two objections to this can easily be refuted: (1) Being real does not always mean something more than being merely thought, being greater, being more perfect. For example, that night I fortunately only dreamed that I had a car accident, that I had committed a crime. - It is obvious that

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This objection is only valid with regard to the unpleasant, the bad, etc., not with regard to the good, the beautiful, the great. But this is what we are talking about here. In addition, in a strict sense, one must admit more reality (compared to what is merely thought or dreamed) in the first-mentioned cases, even if it is an unpleasant, bad "more". My liability does not come into effect with the dream.

(2) A more weighty objection is based on other conceivable greatest things and tries to do that by pointing out that no one would ascribe them to reality simply because of such excessive exaggeration

To refute Anselm's argument. The classic example of this is still provided by the most glorious but, as it is said, lost island that the monk Gaunilo held out to his contemporary Anselm (1). Anselm's answer is also classic:

I promise you: if somebody finds me in reality or even only in my thoughts something besides the "beyond what greater cannot be thought", to which the logic of this argument of mine can be applied, then I will find the lost island and give it up to him that it is no longer lost (2).

This brings us close to the example of Kant of the "hundred possible and real thalers" and his problems.

3.2 Kant's objection

Let us first quote a central section from Kant's argument against the "ontological proof of God":

If I take ... the subject (God) with all its predicates ... together and say: God is, or it is a God, then I do not add a new predicate to the concept of God, but only the subject in itself all one predicate, namely the object in relation to my concept. Both must contain exactly the same thing, and therefore nothing further can be added to the concept, which merely expresses the possibility, because I think its object as absolutely given (through the expression: it is). And so the real contains [real

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liche] nothing more than the merely possible. A hundred real thalers do not contain the least bit more than a hundred possible. For, since the latter signifies the concept, while the latter the object and its position in itself, if the latter contained more than the former, my concept would not express the whole object, and therefore also not be the appropriate concept of it. But in my state of wealth there is more to a hundred real thalers than with the mere conception of them (i.e. their possibility) (3).

Despite Kant's perhaps somewhat unfamiliar language, his objection is immediately obvious. "A hundred real thalers do not contain the least more than a hundred possible". The error of the "ontological argument" seems to lie in the fact that it exploits the ambiguity that lies in the idea that the real is "more" "bigger", "more perfect" than what is merely thought. That's true in a way, Kant admits. It makes a difference to have a hundred thalers or just to dream. But this difference does not affect the concept of what one is talking about. It is not as if there were 100 real thalers on one side, but only 99 dreamed-up thalers on the other. The term must be the same in both cases, otherwise I will no longer speak of the same thing.

The "ontological proof of God" is therefore guilty of fraud. According to Kant, this can be shown most clearly where one tries to extract the existence of God from his concept as "the most real being":

I answer: You have already contradicted the concept of a thing, which you only wanted to think according to its possibility, under which hidden name, the concept of its existence (4).

Whoever speaks about the reality, the existence of a thing, no longer considers its mere concept, its mere conceptual possibility. One must strictly distinguish the level of what, the essence of a thing, from that of its real existence (and also that of its "real possibility").

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The question of how important this clarification of Kant threw with regard to the rationalist philosophy of his time, with which he had to grapple, we cannot go into here in more detail (5). We just have to see whether this also invalidates Anselm's argument.

Just a few decades later, G. W. F. Hegel took Anselm von Canterbury's protection against Kant and was indignant about the comparison of the essence of God with that of a hundred thalers:

However, the difficulty of finding being in the concept in general and also in the concept of God, if it is to be such, becomes insurmountable, that in the context of external experience or in the form of sensual perception like the hundred thalers in my state of ability only as one with the hand, not with the spirit, essentially what is expressed, what is not visible to the inner eye should appear - when that being, reality, truth is called what things have as sensual, temporal and transient. If a philosophizing does not rise above the senses in being, then there is also the fact that it does not leave the purely abstract thought in the case of concept either; this stands over against being (6).

However, it is not entirely safe to simply refer to Hegel. In the way in which Hegel praises Anselm, the medieval philosopher would see himself most disagreeably overinterpreted towards a way of thinking of God that he can no longer accept. In addition, Kant had not argued quite as simply as Hegel insinuated in the quoted passage. Kant also knows that the question of the existence of God is not that of a being that can be ascertained through sensual perception (like that of a hundred thalers). He just does not believe that - beyond such being given by experience - an existence can be recognized critically with the means of theoretical reason, as it would, according to our ideas, belong to God, the soul, etc. (7).

One must, however, ask what Kant's insight is based on, that in every case one has the conceptual knowledge of something of the knowledge of its real existence

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and there is not a single case in which these two sides necessarily belong together. He can only have gained this insight with a view to experienced, sensually conveyed reality. Indeed, what applies to all contingent, not inherently necessary being applies here. its purely conceptual possibility says nothing about its real existence. From all that one also conceptually knows about a thing, one cannot yet make out anything about whether it really exists or whether it can even come into existence. But can this insight gained in view of the empirical world also be transferred to concepts such as that of God?

Even Kant did not succeed in completely consistently separating concept and reality in all cases, as he had shown in his criticism of the "ontological proof of God". According to him, a first "exception" arises with regard to the old truth known since Augustine and Descartes (8) that I cannot be conscious of my thinking and at the same time doubt the existence of this "I think". Still in

universal doubt, I am sure of the (not just conceptual, but real) reality of "I think." As far as Kant differs from Descartes, he at least clings to the bare existence of this "transcendental I." I am here not conscious of "how I appear to myself, nor how I appear to myself

am myself, only that I am. This idea is a thinking, not a looking "(9). Kant also knows something (not lost through sensual experience

medium) existence that is immediately evident from a thinking and is inextricably linked with it.

Another case "where concept and reality are inseparable from one another does not arise, according to Kant, within his" Critique of Pure Reason ", but that of" practical reason ". Whoever One

Sight wins in something that it is absolutely necessary to do, thus not only knows about the concept of what is ought, but also, at least in principle, that what ought to be done

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can be transferred. It is true that the realization of what is morally ought must be fundamentally possible is not knowledge that one could somehow gain on the basis of experience. Even if I lack such knowledge, but even if every possibility of reacting what is ought to in this world seems to be completely blocked by facts of experience: If the moral claim would mean such an abstract "ought" that it would also be conceivable, it could in principle not be realized , then it would lapse as an unconditional moral claim. The term "I should" is only really thought if it also shows the majesty of something real, which asserts its firmness beyond all sensually ascertainable reality (10).

Kant's objection to the "ontological proof of God" is evidently based on a model of the relationship between concept and reality that is not the only determinant of his own philosophy either. If Anselm's thought referred to such facts in which, even according to Kant, concept and reality cannot be separated from one another, the objection would bypass him.

3.3 The limits of the ontological argument

With the demonstration of the limits of the Kantian objection, however, the ontological argument itself has not yet been proven to be valid. Its scope, but at the same time its decisive weakness, can be better demonstrated if we first add the second line of argument, which Anselm immediately follows in the third chapter of the "Proslogion" (11).

And this simply exists so truly that it cannot be thought that it does not exist. For it can be thought that there is something that cannot be thought of as non-existent - and that is greater than what can be thought of as non-existent. If, therefore, "that beyond which greater things cannot be thought" can be thought of as non-existent, then it is precisely that which "beyond which greater things cannot be thought of

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that can ", not" that beyond which greater things cannot be thought "; that which cannot be reconciled. So truly exists" something beyond which greater cannot be thought "that it cannot even be thought of as non-existent.

As difficult as the thought may seem at first glance; Anselm's intention is clear. While he just wanted to prove the existence of God in the first line of evidence, here he also wants to prove the necessary existence of God. Only then is God's being qualified as infinitely exalted above all other beings to which existence does not necessarily belong (12).

If we take another look at Thomas Aquinas' doctrine of God for comparison, we see that, according to his division, Anselm's first line of evidence belongs to the question "Whether God is", but the second belongs to "How God is" (13 ).

This can perhaps help us a little further if we now compare the two lines of argument Anselm more closely with one another. At first glance, it may seem astonishing that Anselm's second argument would also be convincing if the above-mentioned objections to the assumption that "really exist" implies a qualitative plus over "merely exist in thought" could be applied to Anselm's concept of God. This can in fact be made clear if one focuses solely on the difference that Anselm intends in this second line of evidence compared to the first. The following possible objection is in the background here: Well, you have now proven to me the existence of your beyond what ... '. But what's that special! Much is and will go there. So that I come to the concept of what goes beyond. .. 'I have to think about it, I still don't see that God is. Because to be and not to be are quite random quantities. Did you have such a greatness in mind when you wanted to demonstrate to me the existence of something greater beyond what cannot be conceived?

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In contrast, Anselm can now show that whoever thinks the concept of "beyond what ..." cannot connect a being with this "something" as is possible with regard to everything else: a being that one can approve, but also deny him. Whoever ponders the being of the "beyond what ..." must think of a being that necessarily belongs to him.

In this distinction between the first and second line of evidence (overemphasized compared to Anselm's wording) it becomes clear that the latter is actually not an ontological "argument at all, ie a step from the merely conceptual (" logical ") level to the (" ontic ") level of It only tells us something about the specific quality of being, which belongs to the "beyond what ..." in its essence, according to its concept (in contrast to other beings to which this type of being does not belong to their concept) .

Now, however, Anselm formulated his second argument somewhat differently from the way we tried to reproduce it here (merely emphasizing the difference from the first). He claims that whoever thinks "beyond what ..." cannot think that it does not exist. In this version, in addition to the convincing assertion of the third chapter, namely that whenever I combine "being" with the concept of "beyond what ...", I have to combine "necessary being" with it - the controversial claim of the second chapter implies, that I necessarily associate being real with this concept. This assertion can only be maintained if the presupposition is to be admitted that being real means a qualitative more than being merely thought.

If one looks closely at this point, from which the entire argument of Anselm can be seen quite well, then the limit not only of the Kantian objection but also that of the ontological argument itself becomes very clear.

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Kant's objection to the non-concept of a "most real being" and similar conceptual constructions may be justified. It cannot be transferred to Anselm's concept of God. Whoever tries to conceive the outermost being, which human reason is able to think, on the one hand as a mere thought-formation, and on the other hand thinks the same being as reality, and then still claims that with this second one he has no other, greater being compared to the mere thought Fiction of the same being thought, he did not really get into Anselm's idea. The fascination that emanates from Anselm cannot be destroyed by objections such as those made by Gaunilo or Kant. Whoever really thinks "beyond what ..." sees "that it cannot be thought that it does not exist either.

But does this also prove the real existence of that being, as Anselm claims in his first line of evidence? No, what is evident is only a confusing necessity for reason, a bewitching paradox: wherever reason reaches, it grasps beings that have no undoubtedly secure existence in reality.But where it reaches beyond everything, it thinks of a being that it cannot seriously conceive without thinking of it as being, and indeed necessarily being. She cannot escape this compulsion.

But why shouldn't this compulsion, beyond the well-known absurdities of thought, perhaps represent the utter madness of reason? Why must the necessity of thinking, beyond the coherent circle of reason, necessarily correspond to a reality of being? Who says that the thought compulsions of human reason are not ultimately left without a foundation in real being, in which their own emptiness is left?

One cannot take the impermissible step from the "logical" to the "ontic" level with Anselm by comparing his concept of God with others

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Show facts. Outside of the inner legality of reason itself, there are no comparable facts, or better - thought-patterns! But that the necessity of thinking is necessarily also covered by a reason in being, this is an assumption that Anselm here presupposes without questioning (14). The value of the "proslogion" will ultimately be determined by whether Anselm's concept of God - beyond the short-reaching formulation of his "ontological argument" - helps us with this question about the ultimate reason for our thinking.

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1 "It is said, for example, that somewhere in the ocean there is an island which some have called 'the lost' because of the difficulty, or rather the impossibility of finding it, because it does not exist Carry an inestimable abundance of all riches and delights, much more than is said of the Happy Islands, and that, since they have neither owners nor inhabitants, they excel in every respect in abundance of goods in all other countries which humans inhabit someone told me that it was like that, then I would easily understand what was being said, since nothing is difficult about it. But if he then continued and said, as in a logical conclusion, - You can no longer doubt that that island which towers over all countries be truly somewhere in reality, as you fluctuate because it is in your mind; and: because it is more excellent to be not only in mind but also in reality, therefore it must also be necessary. D Because if it weren't for it, every other country that really exists would tower above it, and so it, which you have already seen as outstanding, would not be outstanding. - If, I say, he wanted to prove to myself that the real existence of that island could no longer be doubted, I would think he was joking, or I would not know who to take the bigger fool if I was agreed with him, or with him, if he thought he had proven the existence of that island with any certainty - unless he showed me beforehand this outstanding being as a true and undoubtedly existing thing and no longer merely as something false or uncertain in my mind. "(Exempli gratia: Aiunt quidam alicubi oceani esse insulam, quam ex difficultate vel potius impossibilitate inveniendi quod non est, cognominant aliqui 'perditam', quamque fabulantur multo amplius quam de fortunatis insulis fertur, divitiarum deliciarumertateimere nulloque possessore aut habitatore universis aliis quas incolunt homines terris possidendorum redundantia usquequaque praestare. Hoc ita esse dicat mihi q uispiam, et ego facile dictum in quo nihil est difficultatis intelligam. At si tunc velut consequenter adiungat ac dicat: non potes ultra dubitare insulam illam terris omnibus praestantiorem vere esse alicubi in re, quam et in intellectu tuo non ambigis esse; et quia praestantius est, non in intellectu solo sed etiam

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eat in re; ideo sic eam neccesse est esse, quia nisi fuerit, quaecumque alia in re est terra, praestantior illa erit, ac sic ipsa iam a te praestantior intellecta praestantior non erit; - si inquam per haecili mihi velit astruere de insula illa quod vere sit ambigendum ultra non esse: aut iocari illum credam, aut nescio quem stultiorem debeam reputare, utrum me si ei concedam, an illum si se putet aliqua certitudine insulae illius essentiam astruxisse, nisi prius ipsam praestantiam eius solummodo sicut rem vere atque indubie existentem nec ullatenus sicut falsum aut incertum aliquid in inteliectu meo esse docuerit.), "An answer to this in favor of the fool" (Quid ad haec respondeat quidam pro insipiente [6.1) Vol. 1, p. 128.

2 "Fidens loquor, quia si quis invenerit mihi aut re ipsa aut sola cogitatione existens praeter quo maius cogitari non possit ', cui aptare valeat conexionem huius meae argumentationis: inveniam et dabo illi perditam insuiam amplius non perdendam". (Quid ad haec respondeat editor ipsius libelli [III.], Opera omnia, Vol. I, p. 133.

3 Critique of Pure Reason, A 599.

4 Ibid. A 597.

5 Cf. especially D. Henrich, Der ontologische Gottesbeweis. His problem and his history in the modern age, Tübingen 1960. In the more recent discussion, N. Malcolm's contribution represents a relapse into rationalist argumentation (cf. especially: The Many-faced Argument, loc. Cit., Pp. 301-320) . For the criticism of the operation with an unproven concept of possibility, which is often encountered in the context of "proofs of God", see my explanation in: Ontological Conditions, op. Cit., Pp. 48-53.

6 Science of Logic (1813), Part Two, ed. v. G. Lasson, Hamburg 21934 (Phil. Bibl.), P. 355. on Anselm especially see especially Hegel's lectures on the history of philosophy, theory work edition, vol. 19, Frankfurt a. M. 1971, pp. 554-560.

7 "Our concept of an object may contain what and how much it wants, but we must go out of it in order to give it existence. In the case of objects of the senses this happens through the connection with any of my perceptions according to empirical laws; But for objects of pure thought there is absolutely no means of recognizing their existence, because it would have to be fully recognized a priori, but our consciousness of all existence (be it through perception directly, or through inferences that involve something

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the perception,) belongs entirely to the unity of experience, and an existence outside this field cannot be declared absolutely impossible, but it is a presupposition that we cannot justify by anything. "Critique of Pure Reason A 601.

8 For the history and philosophical scope of the "cogito / sum" see Ontological Conditions, op. Cit., P. 93 ff.

9 Critique of Pure Reason, B 157. See A. Schurr, The Foundation of Philosophy, op. Cit., Pp. 130 f .; Ontological prerequisites, loc. Cit., 5. 102 ff.

10 On the impossibility of resolving Anselm's idea as purely theoretical and speculative from the context of practical philosophy on which it is based, see especially A. Schurr, Diegrund der Philosophie; with regard to Kant's criticism, especially ibid. pp. 131-135.

11 Namely (in Latin) through a relative pronoun: "quod utique sic vere est ...", literally: "which really exists...". From this point of view it is difficult to understand that the skeleton of the second chapter - as an "ontological proof of God" - has been discussed in the history of philosophy almost entirely separately from the idea that follows in the third chapter.

12 "And in fact everything else, except you alone, can be thought of as non-existent. So you alone have the truest of everything and thus the most of everything, because everything else there is not so true and therefore has less being. " (Et quidem quidquid est aliud praeter te solum, potest cogitari non esse. Solus igitur verissime omnium, et ideo maxime omnium habes esse: quia quidquid aliud est non sic vere, et idcirco minus habet esse.) Proslogion, chap. 3 (Opera omnia, Vol. I, p. 103).

13 Cf. Summa theologica, pars I, qu. 2 with qu. 3 ff.

14 The brief criticism of Thomas Aquinas is also to be understood in this sense- "Let it be assumed that everyone understands what is said by this name 'God', namely that which cannot be thought beyond anything greater; it does not follow that let him see that what is signified by the name is in the realm of reality, but only in the conception of reason. " (Dato etiam quod quilibet intelligat hoc nomine Deus significari hoc quod dicitur, scilicet illud quo maius cogitari non potest; non tamen propter hoc sequitur quod intelligat id quod significatur per

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noun, eat in rerum natura; sed in apprehensione intellectus tantum), Summa theologica I, 2,1 ad 2. Cf. K. Flasch, The judgment of the Anselmian argument in Thomas von Aquin, op.

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